Citizens, business community protest parking meter burden

first_img…peaceful picketing interrupted by remunerated City Council supportersWhile Guyanese convened to protest the unreasonable conditions brought on by the implementation of the parking meter system, Mayor Patricia Chase-Green defended the City Council, stating that only the affluent are being affected.Just two weeks after the introduction of parking meters in Guyana, citizens gathered to protest the City Council’s pay-to-park initiative. A crowd consisting ofAnti-parking meter protesters stood in solidarity before chaos ensuedparliamentarians, business owners and civil society members all assembled opposite City Hall in support of the “Say NO to Parking Meters in Guyana” demonstration on Friday. This gathering was the result of a public event created via social media, to express the continuous distress experienced by many, following the installation of Smart City Solutions’ parking meters. The event was intended to be a silent protest, however, the anticipated peaceful action quickly transformed into chaos, as alleged paid pro-parking meters supporters staged a counter protest.When questioned as to what motivated the demonstration on Friday, activists pointed to the numerous concerns over paid parking around the city. Feasibility, transparency and the cost for parking were some of the foremost concerns of the City Council’s new method of taxation. While some call for the immediate removal of the parking meters, given the added expense and disruption to businesses, others expressed their understanding of the reasons for the existence of these meters.However, they are merely requesting a reduction in the cost, as the current rates do not cater for working class citizens and the poor.The recently elected Deputy Mayor of Georgetown, Lionel Jaikaran, justified his reason for joining the protest, as he explained that the initiative lacked proper implementation. He said too that the lack of consultation prior to the implementation of the parking meter system and the unanswered questions pertaining to Smart City Solutions Inc (SSCI), were reasons for the outburst of disapproval.The outgoing Deputy Mayor, Sherod Duncan, was also present and in support of the citizens. He implored the City Council to listen to the people.However, Mayor Chase-Green clapped back, claiming that persons failed to engage the Council on matters concerning the parking meters, and chose various forms of demonstration instead. Supported by the Town Clerk Royston King, the duo highlighted the advantages of the initiative. King labelled the protestors actions as “backwards thinking,” stating that the meters will ensure the restoration and development of the country. He further reported that the system employed citizens as street patrol officers and instances of breaches have been eradicated since the installation.Despite the intentions of a passive demonstration, chaos quickly followed, as supporters of the parking meter initiative accumulated alongside the front of the City Hall compound. Activists were accused of partisan intentions and fuelling verbal attacks. The situation escalated when threats were exchanged and even with both parties’ involvement, only an anti-parking meter protestor was arrested by City Constabulary Officers.The protest came to an end with the activists uniting in the singing of Guyana’s National Anthem, indicating that their actions were in the interest of the entire nation.last_img read more

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